Guest column: Grand Canyon Chamber is energy central

The National Park Service said visitors to parks in Arizona last year spent $995 million at nearby businesses, like those in the town of Tusayan, the gateway to the Grand Canyon.

Sophie Kunthara/Cronkite News

The National Park Service said visitors to parks in Arizona last year spent $995 million at nearby businesses, like those in the town of Tusayan, the gateway to the Grand Canyon.

Small is a relative term. By most standards, Tusayan is a small town. But as Chamber and Visitors’ Bureau for Grand Canyon itself, it routinely produces enough business-building energy to project the town and surrounding area to the far corners of the globe.

Directed by an enthusiastic and knowledgeable two-person staff (Laura Chastain and Lori Bennett), with the support of a far-sighted board, the organization expands its international reach through a combination of all the electronic weaponry that Apple and friends have to offer, and some good old-fashioned face-to-face awareness training.

The efforts — and the output — are formidable. Internal programs such as the Halloween-based Trunk or Treat effort; dealing with the NPS-proposed fee increase; maintaining an active employee-recruiting program; getting serious about 2019’s 100th Anniversary of Grand Canyon National Park; conducting board meetings; producing internal and external newsletters; delivering community news about yoga and English-language classes, Bible study, LGBTQ get-togethers, St. Mary’s Food Bank and an organized trip to the Albuquerque Balloon Festival, among others.

From the 120 or so promotional brochures adorning the walls of the Chamber’s modest offices to the sage advice offered by staff, the information output keeps the small shop humming. Acting as communications central for its own community as well as literally millions of world-wide callers and visitors, the days at the Chamber begin with direct distribution of a Visitors’ Guide at one of the bus stops in Tusayan, followed by question-and-answer sessions in the office, making passes available to relieve congestion at the main gates, updating inventory, and coordinating the various meetings and events they had a hand in organizing.

The office is also responsible for the most effective distribution of the materials they produce, and relies heavily on piggybacking in electronic as well as print media. So far this year, that tactic has resulted in exposure in enough print publications to account for over one million impressions.

Under Chamber President Clarinda Vail, a rotating crew of information ambassadors and a directory of other established Canyon organizations, visitors have also been exposed to a series of on-site events known to produce lasting memories, including:

• Canyon Star Party

• Independence Day Celebration

• Grand Canyon Music Festival

• Multi-month Celebration of Art

The stage for the Grand Canyon Chamber and Visitors Bureau is well-set for next years’ expected 6.5 million visitors.

Comments

Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comment submissions may not exceed a 200 word limit, and in order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit excessive comment entries.

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.